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Britain's FTSE gets mining boost, hits 3-week high
February 10, 2017 / 11:00 AM / 10 months ago

Britain's FTSE gets mining boost, hits 3-week high

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* FTSE 100 index up 0.3 percent

* Miners among top gainers

* Gold miners under pressure

By Atul Prakash

LONDON, Feb 10 (Reuters) - Britain’s commodity-heavy FTSE 100 index climbed to a three-week high on Friday, with a rally in metals prices on soothing Chinese data and supply concerns boosting shares in basic resources companies.

The blue-chip FTSE 100 index was up 0.3 percent at 7,253.60 points after hitting an intra-day peak of 7,274.80, the highest since Jan. 17. The benchmark index, up more than 1 percent so far this week, headed for a second week of gains.

The UK mining index gained more than 2 percent as copper rose after China reported better-than-expected trade data for January and workers at BHP Billiton’s mine in Chile went on a strike that threatens to disrupt copper supply. Prices of other industrial metals were also sharply higher.

Shares in Anglo American, Antofagasta, Rio Tinto, Glencore and BHP Billiton -- top five gainers in the FTSE 100 index -- advanced 1.8 to 3.4 percent.

Sentiment also improved after data highlighted that British manufacturing grew more strongly than expected in December, suggesting the economy remained resilient to the end of the year despite June’s Brexit vote shock.

“There is plenty to be cheery about UK plc. Industrial production growth hit a six-year high in the final month of 2016 ... While slower than the 2.1 percent seen in Nov, it was miles ahead of the flat growth expected,” said Neil Wilson, analyst at ETX Capital.

“Today’s data confirm that the UK economy remains very resilient and lends support to the Bank of England’s decision to revise up its 2017 growth outlook.”

However, gold miners lost favour today.

Shares in Randgold Resources and Fresnillo fell 0.5 percent and 0.3 percent respectively on a firmer dollar after U.S. President Donald Trump promised a major tax move and as data boosted expectations of a U.S. rate hike.

Elsewhere, building materials group CRH rose 1.7 percent after Berenberg raised its target price for the stock to 34.6 euros from 32 euros.

Among mid-caps, speciality chemicals maker Elementis rose nearly 7 percent after saying it would buy U.S.-based SummitReheis for an enterprise value of $360 million. The deal would increase the annual sales of its personal care business to $200 million and boost its adjusted earnings.

On the downside, Just Eat fell 6.6 percnet after the chief executive of the online food delivery company was to quit due to “urgent family matters”, prompting the chairman to step into his role on a temporary basis.

The UK index is up around 1.5 percent so far this year, after surging 14 percent last year and outperforming other major European equity indexes. (Reporting by Atul Prakash; Editing by Toby Chopra)

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